Brendan was born in Australia and holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics (Hons) and a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University, and a Master's in Political Economy from the University of Sydney. He worked in Australia's central bank for over ten years, where he worked in policy, risk management, and on a high-profile IT project connected with asset-backed securities. During this time, he also co-authored a published paper on the impact of payment system reforms on cash machine fees. Brendan has served two terms as President of the staff union while at the bank and was a board member for the Financial Sector Union. He has also worked for the Australian department of industry and a small hedge fund during the global financial crisis. Brendan additionally volunteered in various organizations, including a charity for helping people recover from severe debt (Christians Against Poverty).